I just returned from my visit to Sandia National Laboratories, where I saw some amazing new energy technologies. Much of the activity at this National Lab is classified research and development, the so-called “black world”, that cannot be seen by visitors. However, the unclassified research is truly impressive and provides a hint of the amazing developments that must be going on behind closed doors.
The most impressive facility I visited was the MESA Center. MESA stands for “Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications”. According to Sandia, this center is a “computationally-intensive environment for the design, integration, prototype fabrication, and qualification of integrated microsystems into weapon components, subsystems, and systems for the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile”. In other words, MESA engineers apply CMOS processes pioneered by the electronics industry to making sensors and components that enhance the functionality of nuclear weapons. One aspect of this work is energy scavenging to provide power to these microsystems; see my post, The Walls are Crawling with Energy, for more details.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.